:: I'm so excited about our new Language Arts curriculum that we have just begun. Here is a PDF document that explains more about the program. I'll review when we've gotten a little futher in.
:: Speaking of new curriculum, some of you might enjoy this poem I came across in December:
'Twas 10 minutes to midnight and all through the house
not a creature was stirring except for me and my mouse.
The curriculum websites were all bookmarked and filed,
while I had visions of great books to my ceiling being piled.
And me with my finger poised to click on the "buy,"
a little voice in my head said "Show some restraint - oh, please try!"
"Go away," I said. "I don't want a fight.
I'll get all free shipping if I purchase tonight!"
"It's not fair" I cried out, "they all look so good."
but the voice in my head said, "What if you could?
Do you think your children would know what to do?
They don't need more books, they just need more of you!"
I pondered on this - what was that voice trying to say?
Did it not realize what a deal I could get on e-bay?
I thought and pondered and wondered some more,
then slowly my eyes drifted to the books on the floor.
Three writing, three phonics, four grammar and more,
all sitting there unused except to prop open the door.
I remember the hours spent scouring the sites
and the money I spent would give Bill Gates a fright.
"Come away from the computer." My children would request.
"I can't," I would say, "until I've found you the best."
"But we don't want something different or new,
we want you to teach us like you always used to."
I remember those days when we had just started out.
"I will teach them myself!" I'd announced with a shout.
And teach them I did with good books I'd picked
and they learned and we laughed and it all somehow clicked.
So there I sat in the dark about to purchase some more.
My children as usual would find it a boor.
"No more," I said suddenly clicking the x on the page.
"I'll no longer be a prisoner in this curriculum cage."
We already have plenty and we have quite enough,
we don't need all the new flashy hyped up school stuff.
We'll get back to basics and learning when ready.
We'll stop switching our methods and stay calm and steady.
I'll use what I have and I'll create or borrow the rest,
after all it's always been I who know my children the best.
I know what they like and I know what they need.
I'll not be tempted again by curriculum greed.
I'll teach them to honor the One from above.
I'll teach them to laugh and to live and to love.
Then I'll teach them the things that will make their minds grow
and the things out of books that all kids ought to know.
I'll teach them that learning goes on everyday
but not just in books but in how they live and they play.
If when they are grown they remember one thing I've said,
I want them to hear "Knowledge is power." from the voice in their heads.
~Aime (from The Well-Trained Mind forums)
:: Your Child Left Behind at The Atlantic.
:: The 'free classroom for the world': Khan Academy. Really stupendous math and science video lectures (from 1+1 to Calculus and Organic Chemistry). Not much in the humanities, yet, but we did watch a few on the French Revolution and Napoleon. Rather handy that we were right there in our history studies...
Ooooh. JUST came across this article about Sal Khan and his video lectures: How Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher Wants to Disrupt Education.
:: Or try Free World University.
:: Forget Mandarin. Latin is the key to success @ The Spectator
Hard as it may be to believe, one of the things that gives privately-educated children the edge is their knowledge of Latin. I don’t just mean in the obvious senses – their grasp of basic grammar and syntax, their understanding of the ways in which our world is underpinned by the classical world, their ability to read Latin inscriptions. I mean there is actually a substantial body of evidence that children who study Latin outperform their peers when it comes to reading, reading comprehension and vocabulary, as well as higher order thinking such as computation, concepts and problem solving.
:: The 5 Best Toys of All Time @ Geek Dad
I won't quote him and ruin the fun. Just head on over and read his brilliant (and hilarious) recommendations.
:: And, just for fun, the animate version of Sir Ken Robinson's talk, 'Changing Education Paradigms':